MX ditches banner ads on relaunched app in favour of native content

MX redesign News Corp’s afternoon commuter newspaper MX has ditched banner advertising in its new-look app and adopted a native ad model as it looks to create a more engaging experience for readers.

Publisher Tamara Oppen said its key demographic of 18 to 34-year-olds told the publisher during research they found banners and buttons irritating and intrusive.

It prompted a re-think at the newspaper with native content now the backbone of its advertising platform on the app.

Qantas-owned Jetstar became the launch customer of the native model, with MX close to securing two more advertising partners.

Oppen described native advertising as a “new era” which relatively few publishers have yet to embrace. Such a model fits “perfectly” with MX’s demographic as it adds valuable and informative content, she said.

But she admitted it must be clearly marked as native content.

“You can’t deceive readers. They are savvy and don’t like being sold to,” Oppen said.

The revamped app, which follows a restructure of the MX print editions which saw its three publications brought under the control of one editor-in-chief, will aim to “turbocharge the sense of community” for users, Oppen said.

The Talk section of the app, which include the newspaper’s Vent Your Spleen, Overheard, Here’s Looking at You and Lost in Love, will allow readers to interact in real time, with a selection of submissions published in the print edition the following day.

Oppen said the ability to chat live was described as “tinder on steroids” by people questioned in the consumer research forums.

The app will also include MX’s new Jetstar-sponsored Wanderlust travel section, entertainment section Daily Juice and City Scene which provides a run down on what’s new in their city.

The content will be shareable both through readers’ own social media channels and through MX’s own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Oppen said she hoped downloads of the app would at least match the 135,000 of the previous version.

“But it’s not about getting big numbers. What we want is users to be engaged and to use their social channels to share stories,” she said.

Steve Jones


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